Starting cornerback and newly announced team captain Josh Shaw will potentially be sidelined for half of the season after suffering high ankles sprains in both legs after saving a family member from drowning over the weekend, USC announced Monday afternoon via the USC RipsIt Blog.
While attending a family social function at his cousin’s apartment in his hometown of Palmdale, Shaw looked on from a second floor balcony to the pool below and saw his 7-year-old nephew, who cannot swim, in distress without help nearby. Shaw instinctively leaped off the balcony, landing painfully on the concrete below.
He was able to crawl into the pool and ushered his nephew to safety. Despite the intense pain in his legs, he was then able to grab the ladder and lift himself out of the pool with his upper body.
Shaw’s nephew Carter is a bit “traumatized,” but physically okay. Shaw was taken to the hospital and subsequently diagnosed with two high ankle sprains, which will sideline him indefinitely.
Shaw was voted a team captain for the coming season and was listed number one on the depth chart for the starting cornerback spot opposite Kevon Seymour.
High ankle sprains, the more severe type of ankle injury, typically take four to six weeks to recover from, but in athletes they are usually present in one leg, not both. Shaw’s recovery will certainly be complicated by the nature of the injury.
If the depth chart is to be believed, the redshirt senior’s absence will thrust redshirt freshman Chris Hawkins into the spotlight. True freshman Adoree’ Jackson will also likely be given additional opportunities to play.
Both Hawkins and Jackson have exhibited enough talent to fill the gap, but they both lack the experience Shaw carried. In addition, the Trojans lose a certified on-the-field leader in the backfield. Especially considering the timing of the injury, USC could face an uphill battle against a dangerous Fresno State receiving corps in the season opener on Saturday.
Still, the most important thing is to acknowledge the heroism exhibited by Shaw. Though he will not be available on the field to start this season, his presence on the sideline will hopefully serve as a boost for the Trojans in 2014.